Gregory S. Berns

Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics and Director of the Center for Neuropolicy

and Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience (FERN)

Professor in Psychology Department, Emory University

Ph.D. University of California, Davis, 1990
M.D.  University of California, San Diego, 1994


Research Interests

My current research uses fMRI to study canine cognitive function in awake, unrestrained dogs. The goals of these projects are to non-invasively map the perceptual and decision systems of the dog's brain and to predict likelihood of success in service dogs. I also use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to reconstruct the white matter pathways of a wide variety of other mammals, including dolphins, sea lions, coyotes, and the extinct Tasmanian tiger.

Previous research was aimed at understanding the neurobiological basis for individual preferences and how neurobiology places constraints on the decisions that people and animals make. We used fMRI to measure the activity in key parts of the brain involved in decision making. For example, we have used this activity to predict the commercial success of popular songs – the first prospective demonstration in neuromarketing. These results have found application in understanding common stock investing errors, and more recently, in the stock market’s reaction to earnings announcements.  We have also studied decision-making over “sacred values” in the brain and its implications for terrorism. 

Recent Publications


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Gregory S. Berns, MD, PhD
36 Eagle Row
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: (404) 727-2556
Email: gberns (at) emory (dot) edu
Twitter: @gberns